Located on the northern shore of Oahu, the Polynesian Cultural Center is a Polynesian-themed living museum and theme park sprawled out across a lush, 42 acre tropical haven. With everything from island villages to explore to a traditional dinner to feast on, this is a great place to really immerse yourself in authentic Polynesian life.
The Polynesian Cultural Center boasts six distinct villages, each one depicting a Pacific culture. The Samoa village tends to be the most popular, as the demonstrations here are always fun, from learning how to make fire by rubbing two sticks together to using a small pebble to crack open a coconut. The Islands of Aotearoa village features Maori natives, complete with their unusual facial tattoos, with tattooed warriors performing their native war dance. At the Tonga village, you will be treated to a presentation of Tonga drumming, while learning about the intricate sitting dance, while the Fiji village boasts an incredible six storey high Fijian temple, open for the public to explore. The Tahiti village is another one that focuses on dance, and, finally, the Hawaii village will teach you so much more about true Hawaiian life.
The Luau and Dinner
A luau is a quintessential part of Pacific life, and the Polynesian Cultural Center’s Ali’i Luau has won numerous awards. Held in their gorgeous outdoor grounds, surrounded by tropical gardens and waterfalls, the luau includes a Royal Court procession, along with musical and cultural entertainment, followed by an authentic Hawaiian feast. This dinner is often the highlight of the day for many visitors, as the food that you will eat here has been cooked in the most traditional ways possible. From the magnificent imu, which is pork that has been cooked in an underground oven, to steamed tropical fish to poke, this is a great opportunity to try some of the islands’ most famous dishes.
Ha: Breath of Life
After the dinner and luau has ended, the Polynesian Cultural Center hosts an evening performance titled Ha: Breath of Life. This performance tells a symbolic local story, and is filled with Polynesian dances, special effects and blazing fire knives, all of which is put together by more than 100 Polynesian natives. The story itself is one of triumph and tragedy, and will no doubt take you through a range of emotions as you watch the show. With so many publications showering this performance with endless praise, this is an evening that you will definitely not want to miss.
In addition to the activities mentioned above, there is plenty else to do at the Polynesian Cultural Center. There are eight “Go Native” activities for visitors to try, from learning how to climb up a coconut tree to throwing a spear, all of which embody native Polynesian life. There is also everything from canoe rides along a tropical lagoon to a tram tour to take part in, so be sure to leave yourself plenty of time when visiting the center.
While local Hawaiian life can be experienced all over Hawaii’s islands, the Polynesian Cultural Center focuses on Polynesia as a whole. From the many different islands that are dotted around the Pacific to the unique culture that has arisen in the area over the years, this is a tourist attraction that everybody should visit.